Universal's Horror Nights Secret To Keeping John Carpenter's Halloween Fresh After So Many Years
When it comes to the annual Halloween Horror Nights celebrations at Universal Studios Hollywood and Orlando, you can typically expect a good mix of original ideas turned into mazes, presented alongside haunts based on iconic horror films. In previous years, the event had mazes featuring practically every horror franchise imaginable, but there's one that keeps happening over and over: John Carpenter's Halloween.
Over the years, nine different mazes have been centered on the Halloween films, including a number of takes on the original story. Yet, once again, the first Halloween film is the basis for mazes on both coasts in 2022. Given that Horror Nights often has repeat customers year after year after year, it made us wonder how, exactly, those visiting the parks haven't tired of seeing Michael Myers' story told time and again. As it turns out, though, even a movie from 1978 like the original Halloween can still be interpreted in all new ways that the creative teams at theme parks haven't done in the past.
"We've done the movie before, but every time you experience it, it can be a completely different thing," senior show director Matt Flood told GameSpot. "And that's true for really any house that we have. Every time you go through it you can get a little bit of a different scare from here and there. But because this is this iconic slasher film, to live it again and again and again, is also really cool."
And thankfully, with so many previous Halloween mazes, there is plenty of reference material for the team to look back on. According to senior manager of show direction Lora Sauls, "The first thing we did was look at our house that we did several years ago. It was a great haunted house for us... But also we look at the film again. We really kind of dissect that film again. We've all seen it hundreds of times, but we look at it differently with a new eye. I think we all brought something new to it this year. I looked at it differently this year."
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Those new elements that they've never been able to pull off before include a specific moment from the film set at Smith's Grove Sanitarium, which is early in the film, as well as an iconic shot of Michael staring at guests from the top of a staircase.
"We've never done Smith's Grove with the car--that whole scene," Flood said. "It's iconic stuff. For me that car was almost like seeing Michael Myers in the film."
And he's not wrong. GameSpot was able to walk through the maze and the moment you round a corner and see the vintage station wagon staring back at you, you know the slasher killer is lurking in the dark, waiting for the moment to strike--and by strike, we mean jump out from behind a corner to scare you to death.
Moments like that, mixed with other iconic scenes--and previously used maze gags like the room of mirrors filled with Michaels--make for a thrilling experience, even all these years later. And while Michael Myers may be nearing the final chapter of his story in the upcoming movie Halloween Ends, there's something special about getting to relive the first film--and even Halloweens II and IV, which have been turned into mazes--every couple of years. Now they just need to get to work on giving fans that Halloween III: Season of the Witch maze they desperately want.
Halloween Horror Nights runs select nights through October 31 at both Universal Studios Orlando and Hollywood. In addition to Halloween, the parks feature mazes based on the music of The Weeknd, Blumhouse titles Black Phone and Freaky Friday, as well as one featuring a number of Universal's iconic monsters.
This story originally appeared on: Gamespot - Author:Chris E. Hayner